Myanmar ethnic group faces crimes against humanity

5 June 2008

For over two years the Myanmar army has been waging a military offensive against ethnic Karen civilians in the eastern parts of the country. The ongoing offensive includes widespread and systematic violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, according to a new Amnesty International report. The report describes these violations as crimes against humanity.

The report, Crimes against humanity in eastern Myanmar, says that nearly 150,000 people have been internally displaced in Kayin State and the eastern Bago Division. Many have also been subjected to unlawful killings; enforced disappearances; the imposition of forced labour, as well as the destruction of villages, crops and food-stocks and other forms of collective punishment.

Such violations have been directed at civilians, simply on account of their Karen ethnicity or location in Karen majority areas, or in retribution for activities by the Karen National Liberation Army.

Amnesty International has said that it is concerned that the violations are the result of official State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, the Myanmar government) and tatmadaw policy. The organization has called for an immediate halt to all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by government forces and aligned militias and for UN Security Council to impose a comprehensive mandatory arms embargo on Myanmar.

See also:
Myanmar government puts cyclone survivors at increased risk (Report, 5 June 2008)

Myanmar: Crimes against humanity in eastern Myanmar

Index Number: ASA 16/011/2008
Date Published: 5 June 2008
Categories: Myanmar

This report focuses on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed in Kayin State and Bago Division between 2005 through 2007. It includes information on violations committed in military operations by the Myanmar army (known as the tatmadaw) and on tatmadaw policy and practices that have targeted civilians. Amnesty International is further concerned that the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, Myanmar’s military government) has not met its obligations under international law to protect civilians from widespread human rights abuses in the context of the armed conflict.

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